Attempted LeBron chalk toss prank prompts evacuation of UCF building

As a millennial — what? it is true, apparently! — I am very familiar with pranks, and how much they matter. I understand that virality is the most important thing there is, and that if the pursuit of a killer prank that’ll rack up millions of favs/likes/views/posts/reposts/tweets/RTs/shares/reshares/thinkpieces/rethinkpieces winds up ruffling a few feathers, well, that’s just the cost of doing Big Internet Business. The ends justify the memes, always.

I mean, I get that — again: millennial — but evidently, the University of Central Florida Police Department doesn’t. They’re more concerned with boring, decidedly not wavy things like “safety,” “security,” and “ensuring that students, professors and staff aren’t unwittingly exposed to potentially dangerous materials.” I know: lame, right? It’s like they’ve never even seen Reddit’s Rising tab.

Anyway, here’s what happened at UCF on Wednesday:

“We had an individual throw powder in one of the classrooms,” said UCF Police Department Chief Richard Beary. “We think it was going to be some type of stunt, like the LeBron James stunt.”

Beary’s talking about the way the former Miami Heat and current Cleveland Cavaliers superstar used to toss chalk up into the air before tipoff of games:

A student told Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG-TV that the man in the James jersey yelled, “I’m taking my talents elsewhere. I’m going to Miami,” as he threw the powder.

Sure, that’s not exactly what LeBron said nearly eight years ago during “The Decision,” and James has mostly tabled the pre-game ritual for the past half-dozen years. But why let that get in the way of a killer prank?

“Unfortunately, with the current threat situation the way it is, our fire partners said we needed to treat it as a hazmat situation,” Beary said.

Related: Look back at LeBron and his most notable Heat teammate: 

30 PHOTOS
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's relationship through the years
See Gallery
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's relationship through the years
Team USA forward LeBron James (L), of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is checked by guard Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat, during morning practice on the second day of training camp of the USA Men's Basketball team in Las Vegas, Nevada July 20, 2006. The U.S. team is preparing for the 2006 World Basketball Championships this August in Japan. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
U.S. Player (L-R) LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthoy pose after a news conference in Seoul for the World Basketball Challenge 2006, an exhibition match ahead of the world championships in Japan, August 12, 2006. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (SOUTH KOREA)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (rear) and Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade greet each other before their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida February 1, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)
Lebron James (R) and Dwyane Wade of the U.S. celebrate after defeating Spain in the men's gold medal basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 24, 2008. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (CHINA)
LeBron James (L) and Dwyane Wade laugh during NBA basketball team Miami Heat's 'HEAT Summer of 2010 Welcome Event' at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida July 9, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dwyane Wade (L) and LeBron James share a laugh after a preseason workout of the Miami Heat NBA basketball team at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida September 29, 2010. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (L) congratulates teammate Dwyane Wade during the second period against the Washington Wizards in NBA basketball action in Miami, Florida February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's forwards Chris Bosh (L) and LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade (R) cover their mouths with their towels as they talk to each other on the bench during the final minutes of their NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Michigan February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
NBA basketball players LeBron James (L) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat sit in the stands as they watch the tennis match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Kei Nishikori of Japan at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (L) and Dwyane Wade wait during a timeout against the Philadelphia 76ers during fourth quarter of Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Miami April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James sticks his tongue out towards teammate Dwyane Wade during the second half against the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Boston, Massachusetts May 9, 2011. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) is congratulated by teammate Dwyane Wade after they defeated the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference Finals playoff basketball game in Chicago, May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) congratulates teammate Dwyane Wade after wade scored a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the fourth quarter in Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 2, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) stands with Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Dallas, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (L) and guard Dwyane Wade speak during a time out during Game 1 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff against New York Knicks in Miami, Florida April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (L) and Dwyane Wade share a laugh during a team practice for the NBA basketball finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 13, 2012. The Heat will play Game 2 of the series against the Oklahoma Thunder on June 14. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (L) hugs teammate Dwyane Wade near the end of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Miami, Florida, June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (L) and LeBron James celebrate after their team won the championship following Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Miami, Florida, June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) hugs teammate Dwyane Wade during Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff against the Indiana Pacers in Miami, Florida June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) and Dwyane Wade pause during a break in play against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter in Game 7 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade embraces the Larry O'Brian Championship trophy as teammate LeBron James (L) holds the Bill Russell Trophy for MVP after their team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Feb 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) high fives Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Heat defeated the Knicks 106-91. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and guard Dwyane Wade (3) speak during a press conference after game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) hugs Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) after their game at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 101-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) offers to help Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) as he sits in the front row during the third quarter at American Airlines Arena. Miami Heat defeated against the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-92. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) meet at half court prior to the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives past Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the second half at the United Center. Chicago won 111-105. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: NBA player LeBron James (L) accepts the Best Male Athlete award from NBA player Dwyane Wade onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 10: Dwyane Wade #9 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks with LeBron James #23 while playing the Chicago Bulls during a pre season game at Quicken Loans Arena on October 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 08: Dwyane Wade #9 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers share a laugh during a stop in play against the Washington Wizards in the first half during a preseason game at Capital One Arena on October 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

And so, they did. About 90 minutes after the initial report started raising eyebrows, the UCF police gave the all-clear, confirming that the powder used in the chalk-toss prank was not anthrax or something like it, but rather …

Sweet.

UCF police later said that they’d identified the two men involved in the incident: the guy wearing the LeBron jersey “who interrupted class and threw powder into the air,” and a second man with a pair of backpacks “who recorded the disturbance.” They “indicated their actions were a joke and that they didn’t mean to cause any harm,” which is nice.

“We are not amused, especially in light of heightened concerns about safety,” UCF police said in their statement, presumably in reference to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., three hours south of UCF’s campus in Orlando. “It should go without saying that pranks and stunts that create fear and panic are unacceptable.”

The lesson: the next time you’re aiming to go viral, consider whether or not your actions might instead have the effect of forcing a building’s evacuation, locking down a portion of a university’s campus and inconveniencing scores of people. If the answer even approaches yes, maybe just chill out and take a few plays off, my friend. Or, in fact, all the plays off. Just exit the game, really. Retire, raise that LeBron jersey to the rafters of your dorm room, and get your prank fix by watching “American Vandal,” like the rest of us.

More NBA coverage:

– – – – – – –

Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

Read Full Story